Since the RedMagic 5S is a gaming phone
This is the RedMagic 5S, and in case it wasn’tobvious enough, it’s a gaming phone. Personally, the only other gaming-centricphone I had was the first Razer Phone, so I might not be able to provide the best reviewin regards to how it stacks up against other gaming phones.
But I do want to at least share my experiencewith it as a regular consumer who games a little every now and then. So without further ado, let’s get started. As you can see from the way it looks, thisis a phone that was designed with gaming in mind. I’m not just talking about the pattern onthe glass back or the logo that lights up. It’s the entire phone from top to bottom.
I’ll go through all those things in a bit,but for now I just want to say that it feels really well-built. And even though this silver version isn’tas striking to look at compared to the red and blue version, I still think it looks reallynice. The front of the phone houses a relativelylarge 6.65” AMOLED display. It’s not the best I’ve seen in terms ofcontrast, viewing angle or resolution, but it has a class-leading 144Hz refresh rate,so it looks and feels really responsive.
That said, I don’t think there’s a hugedifference between this and 120Hz. And because it seems to be a fixed refreshrate, and not all games will support it, I tend to just leave it at 90Hz most of thetime for the best balance between performance and battery life. There is a bit of bezel on the top and bottom,but I think they make the phone easier to use while gaming, and there is no camera cutoutor a notch that would block any in-game element.
The RedMagic 5S comes with stereo speakersas well, which again is great for gaming. It’s loud, and actually sounds pretty good. There is a headphone jack here as well whichis a nice bonus since most Bluetooth earbuds will still have some latency. Performance wise, it’s running the Snapdragon865 with the fastest RAM and storage in the market today, so performance is great as expected.
The extra gaming related features here aremostly just to improve the thermal performance. On top of the more common stuff like a coolingtube, graphite thermal pad, and whatnot, it has an actual cooling fan as well. This is why you see these air vents at theside of the phone, and why it is not dust and water resistant. I don’t really have the stamina to gamefor that long, but so far, I’ve had no issues with heat at all.
Another thing that is worth mentioning isthis silver strip on the back of the phone. It is there to help transfer even more heataway from the phone when you pair it with the Ice Dock accessory. So if you need even more cooling, this couldbe an option. Battery life has actually been pretty decentfor me despite the relatively modest 4500mAh battery. With lighter usage at 90Hz refresh rate, Iam able to get one and a half days of use out of the phone.
Of course if you game a lot more than I doand use the max refresh rate, it’s probably less than a day of use. It only comes with an 18W charger in the box,but it does support up to 55W charging if you buy a compatible charger. No wireless charging here, but I don’t thinkit matters for a gaming phone. Since this is my first RedMagic phone, I wasn’tsure what to expect when it comes to software experience, but I’m happy to report thatit’s a mostly pleasant experience.
Apart from a few extra features mostly relatedto gaming, the software is actually surprisingly clean. Out of the box, these are the only apps thatI saw on the phone. They don’t ask you to sign up for a RedMagicaccount or use their cloud services, and even the default keyboard, is just gboard. The speed and responsiveness of the UI isexcellent as well. I do have a few complaints, but they’remostly just minor things. Like the slightly weird english translations,having no options to completely turn off the notification LED, and other small little quirks.
For me, I just need to install a launcher,and I’ll be happy enough with it. I’m not really expecting much in terms ofsoftware support since it’s my first time using a RedMagic phone, so I’ll have towait and see. In terms of gaming related features, you’llfind pretty much all of them inside the Game Space feature, which is activated by a physicaltoggle. Other than the usual stuff like tweaking performance,blocking notifications, screen recording, and things like that, it also comes with afew features that I think are quite interesting.
The first one would be the capacitive shoulderbuttons which can be programmed to an on-screen element. So for games like PUBG or COD mobile, it isactually really useful. It’s also great for emulators as well sincesome games do require the use of shoulder buttons. For games like Mobile Legends, it’s notthe most useful, but I can at least make it a little easier to buy items, or check enemystats. The other 2 features I thought were kind ofinteresting, are the aiming assist feature, which is pretty self explanatory, and themacro feature.
The latter gives me the ability to programa certain set of actions, which is useful for games that require a bit of grinding. However, it seems a little buggy for now andwill playback the actions at a much faster speed. So really hoping they will fix this in futureupdates. Moving on to camera performance, since it’snot related to gaming, there is really nothing outstanding here. The main camera hardware is decent and tendsto produce natural looking exposure and white balance in good lighting.
But in low light, it has the tendency to underexposeshots. It has Night mode as well, but using it producessoft looking images. The ultra wide angle camera is strangely onlyavailable in Pro mode, and works okay in good lighting. I normally don’t like sideloading gcam,but in this case I would highly recommend it, because it makes such a huge differencein low light, especially because of Night Sight. Gcam also does a way better job when it comesto taking selfies, with a lot less skin smoothening and aggressive image processing.
That said, because it’s not optimised forthe phone, there are situations where it’s not as good as the main camera. In low light, images look a little soft, andautofocus isn’t as reliable. We don’t get any sort of stabilisation forvideo capture as well. Anyway, I’ll have a link in the video descriptionwith everything I took with the phone, so you guys can see for yourself whether it’sgood enough for your needs. At a starting price of 579 USD it’s definitelynot the cheapest Snapdragon 865 phone around, and I’ve used cheaper phones with bettercamera performance.
But because of the extra gaming related featuresthat we get here, the better thermal performance, the nice display, and a solid set of speakers,I think it’s still good value for money. Of course if you don’t game on your phoneat all, there are better options out there for sure. But even as someone who only plays mobilegames occasionally, I’ve really enjoyed using the phone.
A lot of the features that makes it a goodgaming phone also makes it a nice phone for regular usage. Furthermore, if you compare it to other gamingphones in the market, this is actually quite a bit cheaper. So if you’re looking for a better mobilegaming experience at a more reasonable price, and camera performance is not an issue foryou, I think that the RedMagic 5S is definitely worth your consideration. Thanks for watching this review, and see youguys on the next one.